A magic experience. That’s how one of the Scenic Rim-QAGOMA culinary interns described her two-day experience working alongside GOMA Executive Chef and Eat Local Week ambassador, Josue Lopez and his team.

The extensive kitchen at the Gallery of Modern Art Restaurant in Brisbane is a far cry from Sam Savery’s usual cooking digs at The Royal Hotel Harrisville, but she says the experience was priceless.

“I just learned so much,” says Sam, a busy mum of three who also runs a popular cake business.

“It was an awesome experience. Money could not buy what I experienced. Josh and his team were just brilliant. They allowed us to do everything, including plating up. For them to trust us like that was a huge thing. Over the two days we worked on all these tiny elements which when they come together on the plate were just huge.

“Josh’s knowledge was incredible and he is so humble.”

Sam was one of three Scenic Rim culinary interns selected as part of the Scenic Rim’s Eat Local Week partnership with QAGOMA. Joining Sam in the kitchen was Terri Taylor from the Tamborine Mountain Cooking School and Kate Raymont from Hinterland Harvest Catering.

The trio spent June 12 and 13 working alongside the GOMA Restaurant kitchen team, preparing the seven-course Scenic Rim degustation for guests on the Saturday night.

Kate says the experience was inspiring and full of experiences that she will incorporate into her work at the Wild Lime Cooking School and her catering business.

“It was just totally inspiring to be in a kitchen full of energy and creativity, working with chefs who are really at the cutting edge of their industry,” says Kate.

“It’s really inspired me to use more local produce and to use food in different ways through layering. It’s not longer about serving up some roasted carrots. I was thinking about how art and styling and decorating now goes into food.

“It’s about developing layers, a bit like you would a painting. Colour has a big impact in dishes and some of the meals we produced on Saturday night were like works of art on the plate.

“Josh was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge. Once upon a time chefs didn’t give away their secrets, but he said that’s not how he works. He likes everyone to enjoy food. He was so willing to share his knowledge of ingredients and technique with us.

“I feel very privileged to have had this experience.”

Josh is a keen supporter of local produce, in particular Scenic Rim produce. He included Kalbar carrots on the menu he prepared for the world’s leaders during the G20 Summit in Brisbane.

Through his role as Scenic Rim Eat Local Week ambassador, Josh will lead a cooking demonstration at the Winter Harvest Festival at Aratula on July 4.

Guests at Saturday night’s degustation enjoyed a full day of touring around some of the Scenic Rim’s producers.

A bus left GOMA at 8.30am Saturday and travelled to the Towri Sheep Cheese farm at Allenview, then to Bunjurgen Estate Vineyard, to Fassifern Valley Produce and finally to Scenic Rim Olives.

The bus returned to Brisbane at 4.30pm and the guests reconvened at 6.30pm for the seven-course dinner, which incorporated ingredients from the farms they had visited, as well as others.

Scenic Rim wines were paired with each course and were sourced from O’Reilly’s Vineyard, Witches Falls Winery, Welgan Estate, Normanby Wines and Bunjurgen Estate Vineyard.

Sam says it was wonderful to see the elements come together on the plate.

“I decided I would grab every opportunity and run with it. I realised that anything is possible – this was one big opportunity. Josh was very humble and very down to earth. He’s just a really top person and he sent us all an email this morning saying his door is always open to us if we have questions.”

Sam is now focused on her own seven-course degustation, which she will serve at The Royal Hotel Harrisville on June 27 as part of Eat Local Week. Tickets are selling well.


The GOMA Degustation Menu
Towri Farm Eweghurt cheese, brioche crumble, olive oil, sheep sorrel

Pecan husk smoked Kalbar carrots, green beans and their flowers, pecan textures

Butter poached Aratula freshwater crayfish, smoked avocado, yellow tomato, native finger lime

Confit of Neuendorf Farm sucking pig, blood pudding, picked heirloom beetroots, pigweed

Roasted Lillydale Angus beef fillet, charred sweet onions, Witches Chase misty mountain blue cheese, tender rhubarb

Bunjurgen white Shiraz sorbet, aromatic lavender, honeycomb

Tamborine coffee and macadamia brittle, aerated anise myrtle cream, toasted caramel meringue